U.S. stocks rise as Yellen testimony fuels optimism on economy

Debt Plan

The Republican leadership scrapped an earlier proposal that would have tied suspending the debt limit to a provision that would restore cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees.

Sixteen companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to release earnings results today. Of the index members to have reported this season, 76 percent beat analysts’ profit estimates, while 66 percent exceeded sales forecasts, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Earnings Season

Profit for the benchmark’s stocks rose by 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 and revenue by 2.7 percent, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, the gauge of S&P 500 options known as the VIX, dropped 3.9 percent to 14.67 today for its fourth straight decline.

All 10 main industries in the S&P 500 advanced, with phone and commodity companies increasing more than 0.8 percent.

Sprint jumped 2.6 percent to $7.89 after saying fourth- quarter sales rose to $9.14 billion, beating the average analyst estimate calling for $8.99 billion in a Bloomberg survey.

CVS Caremark added 2.6 percent to $68.69. The largest provider of prescription drugs in the U.S. posted fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates. The new drugs and an expanded roster of clients for specialty pharmaceuticals, along with higher prices, boosted revenue from pharmacy services to $19.6 billion, the company said.

InvenSense climbed 11 percent to $21.66 after entering into a patent cross-license agreement with STMicroelectronics, resolving lawsuits over infringement. Neither company admitted to any liability in the dispute over micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMS, which incorporate motion sensors and are used in cameras, fitness equipment, smartphones, remote controls and other devices.

GM Gains

General Motors Co. gained 1.1 percent to $35.28 as sales in China rose 12 percent to a record 348,061 units last month. Buick monthly deliveries gained 16 percent to surpass 100,000 units for the first time.

ConAgra Foods Inc. dropped 6.2 percent to $29.14, the lowest level since December 2012. ConAgra cut its year-end profit forecast, reflecting a longer time frame to restore its private brands segment to planned levels of operating profit, as well as weaker-than-anticipated volumes in consumer foods.

Urban Outfitters Inc. slipped 2.1 percent to $35.89. The clothing retailer reported fourth-quarter preliminary sales of $906 million, less than analysts’ estimates of $925.97 million. Urban Outfitters will release its fourth-quarter earnings on March 10.

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